Insights often come when we least seek them. As happened to the veterinarian from Asti Gian Paolo Squassino, which, during a holiday in Sardinia, started – almost by chance – that research path that today has led his studio to be the first accredited center in Italy for the use of regenerative medicine.
“It was the summer of 2008, at Asinara, at the Fornelli veterinary hospital. I was on vacation with my wife and we were visiting a part of Sardinia. I came across the release event of a sea turtle (caretta caretta) and started asking my colleague about turtles, dolphins, dolphins, etc. He invited me to visit the hospital and, among the various speeches, he also exposed me to the difficulties of healing the carapace of turtles, when they suffered trauma from motorboat propellers. Carapace repair is a very long process which, at times, can take months of hospitalization. The problem is that in captivity the turtles lose the instinct of predation and, although healed and released, many are unable to survive. “We should speed up the healing time, but we do not know how to proceed” he confessed to me. This thing struck me, so much so that after a short time I contacted the professor Maurizio Del Bue of the University of Parma, which has long been interested in regenerative therapies “.
The Regeneraps association
A collaboration fueled by continuous studies and exchanges that in 2013 led to the birth of the Regeneraps association of which Squassino and Del Bue form the scientific committee, together with their colleagues Stefano Grolli (professor at the University of Parma) and to the professor Luisa Pascucci, of the University of Perugia. “Regenerative therapies are a branch of medicine that uses bioengineering to enhance certain physiological activities, with the aim of enhancing the normal healing processes of tissues. Over the years, Regeneraps has given us the opportunity to perform several interventions of infusion of PRP (platelet-rich plasma), SVF (stromal vascular fraction) and MSC (mesenchymal stem cells) in various Italian cities. The goal of the association – explains Squassino – is to create accredited centers of excellence in each region, training colleagues who want to undertake this fascinating and still partly unknown branch of medicine, approaching what will be a large part of the medicine of the future. . Our collaboration extends not only to the veterinary field, but also to human medicine, obviously only by collaborating and comparing the various experiences “.
The list of four-legged patients who have recovered in recent years with the use of regenerative medicine is getting longer and longer. From dogs with a cruciate ligament injury that risked being unable to run to those with severe liver disease. “I remember, among others, the case of Asia. A particularly exuberant dog who, during a too tight curve or perhaps a jump with a landing that was not exactly perfect, began to limp conspicuously – says Squassino – After an orthopedic visit and having confirmed the diagnosis through an ultrasound examination, I decided to carry out an infiltration of PRP. The platelet pellet was then recomposed into 1.5 ml. of plasma and injected into the joint. The treatment was repeated after six days. And Asia was then completely healed ”.
The research does not stop
The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Pavia which is headed by the doctor Marina Torre is carrying out new work concerning lyosecretoma. What’s this? A set of active vesicles produced by stem cells that contain all the regeneration factors produced by stem cells, but have the great advantage of being freeze-dried and stored at refrigerator temperature, while the stem cells are stored at -196 degrees in liquid nitrogen. This allows for considerable ease of use and storage, as well as avoiding all defrosting and washing operations. The Zooprophylactic Institute of Brescia also enters this latest work, guaranteeing the quality of the products used. All this is authorized by the Ministry of Health which has supported this type of experimentation. “We are currently the only ones in Italy and, probably in Europe, dealing with lyosecretoma. It is certainly a great opportunity that allows me to work with high-level researchers and scientists ”concludes the researcher from Asti.